"The support of Southdown and the Recovery College has given me hope"

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Recovery College Student

A student buddy is my guidance, my support, my motivation. If I’m having a depressive day, knowing my student buddy is coming to get me and help me get to college – it’s a motivation. You’ve got someone who believes in you and I want to prove to them I can do it.

At the beginning, my student buddy would meet me at the bus stop. We’ve gradually increased the distance where we meet.

She’s not only supporting me to get to college but also helps me be safe because my awareness of the road isn’t good. If I’m panicking, I don’t focus. My memory is really bad and paranoia doesn’t help.

I suffer with agoraphobia and with really bad anxiety.

A student buddy is my guidance, my support, my motivation. If I’m having a depressive day, knowing my student buddy is coming to get me and help me get to college – it’s a motivation. You’ve got someone who believes in you and I want to prove to them I can do it.

My main challenges at the time were getting somewhere, going there, and staying there. I was finding it difficult to stay in colleges.

My mum and her friend told me about a course they were doing – the Resilience course. I met Alice – my student buddy – through the course.

I have been really surprised I was able to stay. This course has really helped with my confidence building and getting out. I was so scared at first.

I’m quite a negative person so I don’t notice the changes in myself, but when other people say they’ve noticed a difference that makes me happy.

I’ve signed up for the ‘Managing Depression’ course this term. It really helps to have a good relationship with the trainer – I feel safer. It takes the extra bit of worry off.

I prefer coming to the Recovery College than being at home. I’m trying to get myself off cannabis and I have to fill my time with positive things. It keeps my mind distracted. If I’m home, my mind goes into a spiral.

I wouldn’t have been able to get to the college if it wasn’t for the student buddying system. But I’m quite close to the college now and I’m learning my route and I think I can imagine a time I won’t need Alice.

The support of Southdown and the Recovery College has given me hope. It’s given me a sense of achievement. I was feeling really low, worthless, and depressed.

I always big up the Recovery College to people – it’s non-judgemental. It doesn’t matter what you’ve got going on, you’re not penalised. You can be honest and open.

Near the end of a course you make friends, you learn about each other. It feels like it’s filled something I had missing.

Delivered as a partnership with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the Brighton and Hove Recovery College uses education in a supportive learning environment to help people with mental health challenges become experts in their own self-care and recovery. Student Buddies meet up and help those students who need support attending and engaging with the college. This might involve accompanying them on a journey or meeting them outside a venue or supporting them in the classroom. Delivered as a partnership with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the Brighton and Hove Recovery College uses education in a supportive learning environment to help people with mental health challenges become experts in their own self-care and recovery. Courses on offer include ‘Poetry for Recovery’, ‘Introduction to Hoarding’ and ‘Recovery and Self-Discovery Through Art’.